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"Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
B-side "Because You’re Young"
Released 2 January 1981
Format 7" single, Cassette
Recorded Power Station, New York
Good Earth, London
April 1980
Genre Rock, Post-punk
Length 3:27 (7" single edit)
5:10 (Full-length album version)
Label RCA Records
Producer David Bowie, Tony Visconti
David Bowie singles chronology
"Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
"Up the Hill Backwards"
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) track listing
"Up the Hill Backwards"
"Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)"
"Ashes to Ashes"

"Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" is the title track from David Bowie's 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). It was also issued as the third single from that album in January 1981. Coming as it did in the wake of two earlier singles from Scary Monsters, "Ashes to Ashes" in August 1980 and "Fashion" in October the same year, NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray labelled its release another instance "in the fine old tradition of milking albums for as much as they could possibly be worth".[1 ]

Musically the track was notable for its lead guitar work by Robert Fripp and distinctive synthesized percussion. The lyrics, sung by Bowie in a mock-cockney accent, charted a woman's withdrawal from the world and descent into madness ("When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home ... Now she's stupid in the street and she can't socialise"). Thematically it has been compared to Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" (1979),[1 ] and to the "claustrophobic romance" of Iggy Pop's 1977 collaborations with Bowie, The Idiot and Lust for Life.[2]

The edited single reached #20 in the UK charts. As well as 7" vinyl, it was issued in Compact Cassette format. It has since been performed on a number of Bowie tours.


Track listing

  1. "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" (Bowie) – 3:27
  2. "Because You're Young" (Bowie) – 4:51

The French release of the single had "Up the Hill Backwards" as the B-side.

Production credits


Chart (1981) Peak
U.K. Singles Chart 20
Irish Singles Chart 17
Canadian Singles Chart 49

Live versions

  • Bowie performed the song on Saturday Night Live on February 8, 1997. This was later released on the album Saturday Night Live - 25 Years Volume 1.
  • Bowie and Reeves Gabrels performed an all-acoustic country and western version of the song for the radio station WRXT in Canada on October 16, 1997.
  • Bowie performed the song with Nine Inch Nails numerous times during the Outside Tour.

Other releases

Cover versions

  • Frank Black - Live recording (with David Bowie)
  • Ex-Voto - Goth Oddity: A Tribute to David Bowie (1999)
  • Sepulcrum Mentis - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)
  • Tides of Mars - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
  • Superchunk - Cup of Sand compilation


  1. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: pp.112-115
  2. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.180


Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5



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